How to Paint Walls and Ceilings
How to paint
You can use paint for uninterrupted colour or to create stunning visual effects, from bold geometric patterning to delicate stencilling or a unique mural.
Before you start
Ensure the walls are clean and dry and woodwork is prepared. Make sure you have the right tools and equipment close at hand, and enough paint to complete the job. It is a good idea to check that the paint comes from the same mixing (batch number) to avoid any difference in colour or tone from tin to tin.
A scaffold board supported by two ladders is safer than a single ladder, especially when painting a ceiling. For decorating a stairwell you will need to build a sturdy platform or, even better, hire a scaffold tower.
• brushes in various sizes: 1-5cm (1/2-2 in) for edges and windows; up to 15 cm (6 in) for walls
• rollers, as an alternative to brushes for large areas. Suit the roller to the type of paint — textured paint needs a deep-pile roller. A small roller on a long handle is indispensable for reaching behind radiators
• paint pads: easy to use but not suitable for textured surfaces
• paint tray (when using roller or pads)
• protective sheets, old rags and newspapers
• masking tape or a paint shield
• paint stirrer
• paint kettle (optional, but sometimes easier than painting direct from the can)
• brush cleaner suited to the type of paint
Walls and ceilings
When painting walls and ceilings remember to allow yourself enough time to complete the work. You can do one wall at a time, but you must paint the whole ceiling in one go.
1. Start to paint a ceiling in the corner nearest the window, and work away from the light. For a wall, try to start with one that is unbroken, and begin in a top corner.
2. Dip no more than one third of the bristles in the paint and wipe off the excess (string or thin wire tied across the top of the can or paint kettle is useful for this).
3. Begin around the edges with a small cutting-in brush, then change to a larger brush or roller — work across and down in strips about 75 cm (2 ft) wide, ‘feathering’ the edges so they blend invisibly. When using a roller, only part-fill the paint tray and don’t overload the roller. Work with criss-cross strokes sideways and downwards, keeping the roller on the surface until almost dry (or you will get splashing).
Order of work
It is important to follow the correct sequence when painting a room to avoid spoiling newly-painted surfaces and having to repaint them.
6 skirting boards (baseboards)
• Remove any window catches or handles and ensure radiators are cool.
• Don’t be tempted to use too wide a brush, and protect glass with masking tape or use a paint shield as you work.
• Peel off tape when the paint is touch-dry. Remove any dry paint from the glass carefully with a scalpel or razor blade.
Tips of the trade
• The job will be quicker if you remove all furniture and cover the floor completely with polythene sheeting.
• Take doors (especially panelled ones) off their hinges and paint them flat, supported on trestles. When you re-hang the doors, fit rising butts to make them easier to take off next time.
• Paint in a well-ventilated area, and in good light (ideally daylight).
• Keep children and pets out of the way, and store paint and tools away from curious little fingers.
• Never use a brush with a rusty ferrule as this will discolour the paint.
• If paint is a little ‘blobby’, strain it through an old stocking into a clean can.
• Turn cans upside down briefly andfor a few seconds before . This will prevent a skin forming.
• Store paint in a cool, dry place free from frost.
• Paint the lid of the tin, so you can see the colour at a glance when you need to do a little touching up.
‘Don’t waste time painting poor surfaces – thorough preparation is the secret to successful decorating’